A Better Burn

Endless hours on the treadmill don’t always equal a wedding-ready physique—it’s time to reinvent your tired cardio routine.











You start off at a brisk
walk, then segue into a jog. When you hit three miles, you stop.


Trainers and researchers agree: Short, intense bursts of effort get you fitter faster. Bodyscapes Fitness manager Mike Walsh—himself a newlywed— recommends an interval routine. Intersperse three minutes at a moderate-to-hard run (between 6.2 and 7.0 mph) with 30 seconds of body-weight exercises like squats, lunges, pushups, and sit-ups.


In order to keep your heart rate up,
you can’t slow the treadmill to a stop (or even, really, to a walk) at the end of each interval. But be warned: Hopping off the treadmill at 6.8 mph requires coordination—or at least a few practice tries.

Bodyscapes Fitness, 1285 Beacon St., Brookline, 617-232-1010, body


You’re coasting away,
and before you know it, 45 minutes have passed—but you’ve barely broken a sweat.


“You need to actually feel some
resistance on the elliptical, as opposed to the feeling of easy momentum,” says Stephanie Daly, an assistant director at Healthworks Fitness Center. To burn serious calories, she suggests starting at lower resistance (level three or four) and increasing one level every two minutes while maintaining your speed. Do this for 10 minutes; repeat three times.


You should be able to hold a brief conversation during your workout, but you shouldn’t be able to sing. A heart rate monitor will chart your intensity level and caloric expenditure far more accurately than the elliptical display.

Healthworks Fitness Center, 441 Stuart St., Boston, 617-859-7700, healthworksfitness.com.

Stair Mill

You abandoned the elliptical for the challenge of the stair machine. It’s kicking your ass—so you wind up
hunching over and hanging on to the side rails.


Daly emphasizes the rails are
intended solely for the occasional
balance check; ideally, you should
maintain good posture as you climb
and let your arms swing naturally by your sides. “Use the interval button—the steps start slow and get faster,” she says.
Slow down if you feel the need to use
your arms for support.


To counteract any hunching,
remember to maintain good posture and activate your core by pulling your abdominals in
and up.


Stationary Bike

 It’s 9 a.m. on a Saturday,
and you’re definitely not
up for an intense workout.
Instead, you grab a stack of magazines and hop on the reclining bike.


Biking can provide an excellent
interval workout, but you should be upright and supporting your own
weight to boost caloric burn. Walsh
recommends trying a spin class, which incorporates bouts of intense effort
with recovery periods. “Group classes
are a great way to get trainer-level instruction without the fee,” he says.


Don’t be scared by the spandex-clad fanatics. Because you control your own resistance on the bike, spinning can accommodate a wide range of fitness levels. Show up 15 minutes before your first class so the instructor can show you how to adjust the bike settings.